You Truly Do Get What You Pay For

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Real Estate commissions are too high!  Discount brokerages beat this drum all the time, but is it true?  Is a full service brokerage charging too much for what they do?  Do discount or flat fee brokerages provide exactly the same service, and more importantly, results, as a full service brokerage?

Here is the breakdown of what our company, Coldwell Banker Community Professionals, a full service brokerage, does for every one of our seller clients as a MINIMUM STANDARD.

  • We will fully explain your representation alternatives, and how they will affect your sale
  • We will create, with you, a marketing action plan to get your property sold
  • We will provide you with a comprehensive Competitive Market Analysis (CMA)
  • We will show you various financing alternatives and how they may help facilitate the sale of your home
  • We will furnish you with an estimated net proceeds of your sale, to assist you in your future plans
  • We will help enhance your home, by developing  a plan to showcase your property and enhance its ability to attract buyers
  • We will present your property to the Coldwell Banker sales team
  • We will promote your property to other reputable, professional Brokers and Sales Representatives who service your area
  • We will place your property on the LOCAL Multiple Listing Service
  • We will create a marketing resource to promote the details of your property, including specific highlights and photos/videos of your property, and showcase it online
  • We will prepare promotional materials regarding your property and arrange for their distribution to target market areas to attract potential buyers
  • We will offer to place a Coldwell Banker Community Professionals FOR SALE sign on your property to help generate calls to our office from prospective buyers
  • We will review with you our comprehensive marketing program designed to generate buyer prospects for your property.  We will explain how our placement on multiple websites will maximize the exposure of your property to potential buyers.  We will also discuss how we track online activity and more…
  • We will provide you with regular Marketing Activity Reports on competitive market conditions, buyer activity and the actions taken to market your property
  • We will review with you the home finding process that buyers are most likely to follow including financial qualifications, property selections, financing options and closing procedures
  • We will seek financial qualifying information on all buyers submitting an offer to purchase on your property.
  • We will review all purchase offers as they are presented, and we will negotiate on your behalf to reach a purchase agreement with terms that are favourable and protective for you
  • We will monitor and inform you of the progress of the transaction including the satisfaction of all contingencies and conditions during the transaction
  • We will contact you after the closing to follow up on any remaining details or service needs
  • We will provide you with details of our relocation and referral services, which are available to you at no cost regardless of where you are moving

The above is a list of the basic services offered.  Many of our real estate professionals offer additional services, whether it be staging, or pre-inspections, for example.

Also, our sales professionals are trained in negotiation skills, ensuring you have a strong advocate for your needs at the time of an offer presentation.

These steps that our sales professionals take, ensure that sellers net more from their home sale by using a full service REALTOR®.  The increased sale price reflects the benefit having a real estate professional on your side can make.

To find out what we can do for you, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals today.

The Rollercoaster Ride of 2017…

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2017… a year to remember or a year to try and forget?

If you bought or sold a home in 2017,  you are no doubt looking back and asking yourself if you made the right timing decision.  If you were buying or selling  a home for you and your family, rest easy, yes you did…

Real estate is one investment that you are assured that if you buy for the long term, you have made a good investment.  Historically, real estate has held its value and increased in spite of it being a buyers’ or sellers’ market when you buy.

If you attempted to buy a home in 2017, and are still looking, relax.  The market is becoming a more balanced one, and more and more homes are coming on the market.  All indications are that it should be a robust spring market, with more homes coming on the market.  Prices are not expected to show the wild increases we saw in 2017’s spring and summer markets.

If you held off selling in 2017 because you were concerned whether you would be able to find a home to buy for your family, now is the time to speak to your REALTOR® and start planning for your move in 2018.  The increased number of homes expected to come on the market in the spring, should provide you with the confidence to plan your sale and purchase of  a new home.

Many home owners say they are waiting for the spring market.  Keep in mind, the spring market is not April… traditionally, the spring market in the Hamilton/Burlington area starts in early March. That said, the spring market has started as early as the first week of January some years, when there have been lots of buyers ready to make a purchase.

If you are looking for some advice you can rely on, please call one of our real estate professionals.  At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals, we believe a well informed buyer or seller is the happiest client.  Our sales professionals are ready to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.  And remember, we offer the Ultimate Service Guarantee!  If we are not providing the service we promise, you can terminate your buying or selling agreement.

It’s Time to Celebrate!

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Our Ultimate Service Guarantee is 20 years old and we continue to receive rave reviews regarding our Service!

Our Ultimate Service Guarantee is for both Buyers and Sellers. When you list with our company, we provide you with a 22 point guarantee, outlining a level of service that we provide as a MINIMUM standard. If you are dissatisfied with the service provided at any time, you can be released from your Listing or Buying Representation agreement. We survey every client that buys or sells a property with our company and ask them to rate our service in a number of areas. These surveys result in individual sales representatives in our company receiving the Ultimate Service Designation. Our company has also been recognized as an Ultimate Service Provider, as so many of our representatives have attained the Ultimate Service individual designation.

We are very proud of our representatives, and want to share with you some of the comments their clients have made.
“Very happy re communication and work performance. Office staff very helpful and friendly”

“Sandra is awesome! She understood my needs and what I was looking for. She keeps me updated and and she is very diligent with her work. Overall, great experience finding my first home with Sandra and Coldwell Banker.”

“Daniela was very knowledgeable and helpful during the home buying process! We loved working with her and will and have told our friends and family about how great and professional she was!”

“Diane provides exceptional customer service. Responds quickly and very very competent.”

 

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home and want to receive the very best service available in the business, be sure to call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professional Representatives. We think they are the best in the business!

The Magnificent Seven!

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Movie makers could only come up with seven magnificent cowboys. At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals we have an office full of magnificent individuals.

As part of our Ultimate Service Guarantee, we survey all our buyers and sellers to ask how we did. Many write in to tell us about their experience with our team of professionals, and I have selected some such testimonials to share with you. These are a sampling of the hundreds of surveys we receive back.

“Justin is the kind of agent everyone should have. His professionalism, while he helped and guided us through the purchase of a new property and the sale of our existing residence was greatly appreciated”

“Ozie was exceptional! We were blown away by his professionalism and kindness. Our expectations were exceeded”

“Jeannie was exceptionally helpful and accessible for all our home viewings. She made very helpful observations and was vested in finding the best home for us within our price range. She was, and continues to be prompt with messages. I don’t think we could have found our dream home without her!”

“It was a tough market and Jesse showed above and beyond customer service and PATIENCE! We are extremely happy with our final purchase!”

“As he has in the past, Vince went above and beyond our expectations. He provides exceptional customer service and prioritizes clients like they’re all his only one. I wish I could buy houses every year just to hang out with him more!”

“Amy is a very caring and devoted sales rep – She is looking out for our best interest. I will recommend her to my Friends and Family”

“Rejeanne was patient, understanding and she took the time to understand my needs, and as a result she showed me properties that were within my budget and needs She set me up with the listing alerts and I was able to view properties beforehand. My sales rep accommodated every change (and there were a few), and made every appointment as scheduled.”

“I was referred by a friend, but chose Coldwell Banker based on excellent rapport with Paul. Fast reply time, understood quickly, very patient in explaining everything (more than once). Paul made it comfortable to become a first time homebuyer.”

It’s impossible to pick just 7 magnificent experiences with so many to chose from.

If you are considering buying or selling your home, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Sales Professionals. You will receive the excellent service outlined above from everyone on our team.

At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals we don’t strive to be the Biggest, we strive to be the Best.

Has the Real Estate Market Run out of Steam?

ee080e912907e1b1fadad2edfff41c39I believe we are experiencing a traditional August. We just have forgotten what that is!

It seems that people always believe that the spring market is the hottest, the summer market is the slowest and the fall market runs until December when everyone quits looking for houses as they prepare for the holidays. I think this year is falling into a category of its own.

Our spring market started out brisk, with lots of buyers and not enough homes to sell. We thought it was a pretty strong sellers market and that buyers would need to be aggressive to be successful in home buying. In the back of everyone’s mind was that the thought that the market would ease up a bit after the initial rush, and buyers would find what they were looking for… We are still waiting for the market to ease up a bit and provide properties for all these buyers who are waiting.

Spring was not our hottest market. So far this year, and we have yet to see our fall market, the May, June, and July markets were crazy. Prices are up and the number of available homes is decreasing. Sellers have hesitated to put their home on the market fearing that they will not be able to find a home themselves…

This August has provided the slowest market so far this year, letting everyone catch their breath. I think maybe the buyers are worn out, and have taken the last few weeks of summer to regroup and prepare to do battle in the fall market.

As parents prepare to get their children back to school, REALTORS® are busy helping sellers prepare to put their homes on the fall market, and helping buyers fine tune what they are looking for. I don’t know what the fall market will bring, but if the first part of the year is anything to go by, we should be in for a busy time!

If you are considering buying or selling, call one of our reps at Coldwell Banker Community Professionals. They are well prepared to help you meet your housing needs. Find out how our Ultimate Service Guarantee can provide you with peace of mind in your real estate experience.

It’s All About Community!

I am so excited that our company has chosen to change its name to Coldwell Banker Community Real Estate

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We have been established in the area for over 35 years, and our main focus has always been on helping our community grow and flourish. Our REALTORS® are always working to help families find the right community to live in, and to ensure they have all the services they need to stay and raise their families.

Our company has also always been involved in the REALTOR® community, volunteering on various committees at the local real estate association, provincially and federally.

We believe we have a unique culture at our company, where everyone is ‘part of the whole’. We work together to ensure everyone succeeds, creating our own community under the company umbrella.

Also, at Community Real Estate we have always tried to give back to our community, whether by participating in fundraising events, sponsoring festivals, collecting for local food banks, just to name a few… Our most recent project has been our “Christmas to Remember” where we are helping families, and children in particular, have the Merry Christmas so many of us take for granted.

We gave a lot of thought to what we stand for as a company, and what makes us who we are. As a result, we have adopted a new mission statement that we feel best describes who we are and what we do. WORKING TO BUILD STRONG COMMUNITIES.

If you are looking for a company that is involved in where it lives and works, and gives back to its community, give us a call.

 

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How to Win Every Time with Competing Offers

The only guaranteed winner when there are competing offers on a property is the Seller.

The real estate market this year has been inundated with competing offers. It seems the combination of low interest rates, a lack of listing inventory over the past few years, and a strong employment/economic outlook has fired up our market.

Sadly, with competing offers, only one buyer is happy with the outcome, and the rest are disappointed at best, and sometimes downright upset at worst. Many buyers have lost 5 or 6 times before being successful in making a purchase. I believe that if your REALTOR® has explained how competing offers are handled, and what your options are, you may be disappointed, but you should never be upset.

In the Hamilton market, when you are one of two or more offers, you have one opportunity to make your best offer. Your REALTOR® should ensure that they explain the process to you, and help you to determine what is the maximum you would be willing to pay, finding the point where if someone buys the property for $100 more, you will not be upset… you may be disappointed, but you are at the limit of what you are willing or able to pay. They should explain that starting at a lower price and expecting to have an opportunity to improve you offer is not how it works in competition.

Also, it is not always the highest price that wins. It can be the offer with no conditions, or the best closing date for the sellers, or maybe just the buyer that the seller liked the most. The seller can accept any offer they wish, or none.

There are some instances when the seller does not accept any of the offers, telling the buyers to come back with a better offer if they wish. This can happen when the offers the seller receives are very close in price and conditions, and the seller can see no benefit in accepting one over another, or it may happen if the seller was hoping to receive higher offers, and is not willing to accept the price they have been offered.

If you are currently house hunting, be sure your REALTOR® has explained how the buying process works, including how competing offers are handled.

If you are ready to start you home search, be sure to call a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate representative. They will provide you with excellent, professional service, and ensure that you know exactly what to expect.

Home Buying Myths and Misunderstandings

The following article was recently published by the National Association of REALTORS®, and I thought I would share the information.

Common Myths and Misunderstandings about Shopping for Homes”

You’ve been searching for homes online, driving by interesting properties in your car, and found one that looks perfect.  What do you do next?

Contact the agent featured on the yard sign and the online listing? While that may sound like the most logical step, it’s a common home buying mistake based on several myths and misunderstandings:

Assumption:  It’s best to contact the listing agent because they’re already familiar with the property. Sure, the agent on the yard sign knows that property, but that’s because they’ve been hired by the owners to help sell it.  That’s what listing agents do. Their job is to represent sellers in property transactions, marketing properties to potential buyers and helping sellers earn as much as possible on the sale.

Does that sound like an agent who will be looking out for YOUR best interest? Buyers would be better served if they avoid the listing agent (anything you tell them may hurt your negotiating position) and select a buyer’s agent to arrange a showing – someone who will represent your interests in a transaction.

Assumption:  I’ll save money on commissions if I work with the seller’s agent.  Not true.  Commissions paid to the buyer’s and seller’s agents are predetermined and written into the listing agreement; in most cases, if the listing agent brings a buyer to the table (because the buyer contacted them directly) that brokerage will earn both sides of the commission.

That means buyers don’t necessarily save anything by going directly to the listing agent.  More importantly, when a buyer approaches the listing agent, they’ve potentially lost a vital opportunity to receive loyalty, confidentiality and other fiduciary duties that buyer’s agents owe their clients.

Assumption:  All real estate agents are basically the same, so I might as well contact this one.  Again, not true.  As in all professions, some real estate agents deliver a higher standard of service than others.  One way to make sure you’re working with a professional who’s already received special training in representing buyers is to find an agent who’s earned their Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation – an official designation certified by the National Association of REALTORS®.

As I mentioned at the top, this article is care of the National Association of REALTORS®.  The information is equally applicable in our Canadian market, and there are local REALTORS® who have taken the time to complete the Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation, and are able to provide that higher level of service to buyers. If you are planning to buy a home, be sure to call Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate and ask for one of our ABR® accredited sales representatives. Exceptional service does not cost any more than average service does…

How to Win in Competing Offers

With the strong Seller’s market we are currently experiencing, this seems like a good topic to touch on.

If you are currently in the process of buying a home, you have likely come across a competing offer situation, whether you chose to compete or not.  The low inventory of homes currently on the market, and the ideal conditions to buy, have created a lot of frustration for buyers.

If you have found a home you would like to purchase and discover you are competing with others to buy the property, here are some suggestions:

  • Include as few conditions in your offer as you can.  If you wish a home inspection, consider having one done before the offers are presented. That way you know if you really wish to proceed with the purchase, and it also offers added assurance to the seller that you are sincere in your offer.
  • Be sure your finances are in order.  Don’t assume you can obtain the mortgage. Go to your bank/mortgage broker and have them do the complete approval for you.  That way there are no surprises for you or the seller.
  • Keep the time frame for your conditions as short as possible.  A couple days ensures the seller that you and your agent have done your homework, and it is just a case of final approvals, not full application.
  • If possible, try to match as many of the terms the seller is requesting, whether it be closing date, chattels they have offered to include, deposit amount etc.
  • Speaking of deposits, at times, offering a substantial deposit can assure the seller that you are a serious buyer.
  • Keep in mind that you most likely have only one chance to be the accepted offer.  Make your first offer your best.
  • When deciding how much to offer, don’t get carried away. Keep in mind that if you are financing your purchase, the appraisal will be what the bank looks at when they are determining how much mortgage they will advance you.  If you are getting an insured mortgage, the lending guidelines may be even more stringent.
  • Listen to your agent.  They have expertise in helping people buy homes.  They will help you make the right decisions, and will endeavour to negotiate your purchase on the best possible terms for you.
  • Don’t let frustration drive you to overpay for a home.  I have heard of buyers making offers on 8-10 homes before being successful in having their offer accepted.

Keep in mind that winning in competing offers is not always being the one that gets the offer accepted.  I believe it is only a win if you buy the right home at the right price.  Buy a home you really like, but don’t fall in love with it until you move in.  If you keep that in mind, you will not be in the mind frame of ‘buy at any cost’.  You can remain in control of your purchase.

If you are thinking of buying, be sure to have a skilled professional to help you. Call a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate – with our Ultimate Service Guarantee, we will always put your needs first.

 

Exactly What is Our Company Product?

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What does a real estate company really sell?

I am sure most people would say we sell houses/businesses
and the like. That may be the way of the past, but I don’t think that is true any more.

The true product of today’s full service real estate company (which we are) is the ability to interpret the information available to maximize the return on your investment. (i.e., the commission you pay a REALTOR® for that ability).

With the availability of information regarding asking and sale prices, along with the advent of fee for service companies, truly anyone can put their home on the market.  I believe the difference a full service company brings to you is the ability to know what the market in your particular area is doing.  Are prices increasing? Are there competing offers happening in the area? Is there a development (good or bad) in the area that may affect price? What are the trends in the market? Is there a current shortage of supply? What is happening with mortgage interest rates? Are there any government policy changes that may affect the saleability of a home, or the ability of a buyer to qualify for financing?

If you add to that the specific knowledge and training that REALTORS® have regarding marketing/promoting properties, I believe REALTORS® supply a very important product in their knowledge, interpretation, and implementation of information.

When you are looking to buy or sell what may be your largest financial asset, would you not hire a professional?  If you were thinking of investing $100,000 would you check the internet and make a decision, or would you check with someone who specializes in investing large sums of money, whether for the potential growth it might provide, or to ensure the security of the investment?  Many real estate sales today involve far more than this amount.

Keep in mind that fees are always negotiable.  Be sure to purchase the right real estate product for you – and I’m not talking about the four walls and a roof.

Be sure to call one of our real estate professionals and discuss the product they offer… you may find it’s more valuable than you anticipated.